Healthy settings for young people in Canada – How are young people injured?

How are Young People Injured?

Injuries to young people are caused by many different activities. Figures 6.8 to 6.10 show the range of activities associated with occurrence of injuries for students in Grades 6, 8, and 10 respectively. It is clear that sports are a major cause of injury across grade and gender.

Figure 6.8: Activities leading to injury among Grade 6 students

Text Equivalent - Figure 6.8

Although the percentage of injuries caused by physical fights is small compared with sports (Figures 6.8 to 6.10), violence can clearly have a lasting impact on various aspects of health that goes beyond the violent encounter and associated physical injury. Injuries caused by work-related activities are also uncommon, although they increase in the older age groups as young people enter the formal workforce.

Figures 6.9 and 6.10: Activities leading to injury among Grade 8 and Grade 10 students
Figure 6.11: Organized versus unorganized activities leading to injury

Text Equivalent - Figure 6.11

Figure 6.11 shows that the percentage of injuries that happen during organized activities tends to increase with advancing grade. These high percentages reflect the general increased level of organized activities in young people’s lives as they grow and develop. Research shows that sports represent a large portion of the organized activities during which young people experience injuries.

Where are young people injured?

Table 6.12 shows that the vast majority of injuries to young people happen at sports facilities (16 to 43%), at home or in yards (17 to 35%), or in school at recess or lunch (10 to 19%). Injuries that occur at sports facilities or fields increase notably in older grades, while injuries that happen at home or during school hours decline with age.

6.12 Locations where injuries happen, by grade and gender (%)
  Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8 Grade 9 Grade 10
Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls
Home or yard 27 35 19 32 19 24 17 21 17 21
Sports facility or field 24 16 27 18 33 30 42 35 43 37
School at recess or lunch 18 19 17 19 16 16 10 16 13 13
School after hours 4 2 4 6 4 6 5 6 4 6
Street or parking lot 10 8 11 9 12 8 10 6 10 5
Other 17 20 23 18 16 16 17 16 14 18

Where are young people’s injuries treated?

Figure 6.13: Locations of treatment by a doctor or nurse, Grade 6 students

Text Equivalent - Figure 6.13

Young people seek medical care from a variety of sources following the occurrence of an injury. The most common sources, shown by grade in Figures 6.13 to 6.15, are a doctor’s office or health clinic, followed by an emergency room. The proportion of injuries receiving treatment in emergency rooms increases in the older grades, while the proportion requiring overnight hospital admission decreases. Visits to school health services for treatment of injuries are rare at all grade levels, probably reflecting the lack of school nurses in many Canadian schools. In general, the patterns of treatment observed by gender are quite consistent across the grades.

Figures 6.14 and 6.15: Locations of treatment by a doctor or nurse, Grade 8 and Grade 10 students

Text Equivalent - Figures 6.14 and 6.15

The proportion of students with injuries requiring an overnight hospital stay are charted for three survey years in Figure 6.16. In general, there is no clear trend over time for these more serious injuries.

Figure 6.17 shows that the types of injury-causing activities most likely to lead to significant medical treatment include motor vehicle events, fighting, and biking. Significant medical treatment is defined on the HBSC survey as casting, stitches, surgery, or hospital admission. It is surprising that, although sports are a more frequent cause of injury among young people (see Figures 6.8 to 6.10), sports injuries are less likely to require significant medical treatment.

Data on peer violence and weapon carrying are presented in Chapter 5 on Bullying and Fighting.

Figure 6.16: Injuries requiring an overnight hospital stay
Figure 6.17: Injuries requiring significant medical treatment
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